Monday, March 21, 2016

Day 2, Game 3 - Kaisei (Shimane) vs. Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei (Aomori)

Our final game of the day also highlights 2 more regular schools, again who are perhaps not at their peak.

Kousei is back once again, but weren't their dominating selves. They did defeat Seiai and Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi, but split against Aomori Yamada who may be resurging, but hasn't proved anything yet. The offensive numbers look good but I think they have to be toned down a notch or two.

Kaisei comes in with a very ordinary record. There are some recognizable names on their defeated list (Risshoudai Shounan, Hiroshima Shinjyou), but nothing that really stands out. Couple that with a team slash line of 0.255/0.299/0.423, and it's all underwhelming. Kousei should have the upper hand in this matchup, which will allow the team to build some confidence into the next round.

Kaisei (Shimane)
CF Kondou Issei
SS Kadowaki Ryou
1B Setoguchi Keidai
LF Fukuma Rui
3B Ozaki Fumiaki
P Yoshikawa Takahiro
RF Hosoda Yuuta
C Mototani Riki
2B Hada Shouto

Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei (Aomori)
2B Itou Yuuhei
C Okumura Kouta
RF Tashiro Tsubasa
3B Masuda Taisei
P Sakurai Kazuki
LF Kohide Dairi
SS Kobayashi Naoki
CF Koike Tomoya (#18)
1B Tokuda Taisa (#16)


13:45 - First Pitch!

Not a great start from Sakurai. He walks Kondou, then bails himself out by picking him off. Actually, it was more like Kondou gave the runner back to him rather than Sakurai picking him off.

Setoguchi and Fukuma both get clean singles to put him in a pinch, but he uses a high changeup to make Ozaki swing and miss for the 3rd out.

Meanwhile Yoshikawa for Kaisei is hitting 145, but not really hitting the strike zone walking Itou on 4 straight. After he's moved to 2nd and then 3rd for outs, it looked like he'd avoid getting punished. But Masuda chops one off the plate, and Hada charging in can't get it on the bounce, resulting in Itou scoring and a 1-0 lead.

Yoshikawa getting no peace as the game heads to the 2nd. Despite getting two outs after a leadoff hit, Koike, Tokuda and Itou all jump on his fastball, driving in 2 more runs extending the lead to 3-0. The damage stops there, but Kaisei seems to be falling further behind.

Sakurai meanwhile threatens to give those runs back after he gives up back to back hits in the 3rd. But after being bunted over, Setoguchi chases the high fastball for the 2nd out.

I thought he'd get out of the inning, but then he missed his location on a curve to Fukuma, and he crushed the hanging pitch to the wall, bringing in both runners and making it a 1-run game again at 3-2.

Kousei looked to have a chance to get a run tacked back to their lead in the 4th after a gift error. But Koike after striking out runs in front of Mototani as he throws to 2nd. He's called for interference and the runner is called out as well.

Kousei then gifts the error back to Kaisei, but they too can't make anything out of it.

Kaisei though does extend the lead after Yoshikawa experiences control issues with Okumura listing a hanging slider to right center for a double, issuing a walk and then Masuda hitting that straight fastball to center for the RBI, making it 4-2. Things get scary as Sakurai takes a glancing blow off his helmet on a wild pitch, but Yoshikawa settles down enough to get a 1-2-3 double play.

So at the break Kousei doubles up Kaisei, but the way both pitchers are going there were certainly be more runs added on.

That comes in favor of Kousei. Starting with a booted ball by Kadowaki who eventually scores on another timely hit from Itou, to him moving to 3rd on a SB + WP, and culminating in Ozaki getting turned around on a towering pop fly from Okumura, Kousei gets 2 more runs for a 6-2 lead.

That's where the game ends as mostly we were just going through the motions. Yoshikawa got an unnecessary hit off his glove hand when Kobayashi rifled one back at him, but it was otherwise uneventful.

Kousei does advance, but was far from impressive in the victory. Sakurai struggled with his control throughout the game, but never got punished for it. Heian will surely prove troublesome in the next round.

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